SNL preview: North Ayrshire Wild hoping to see off Paisley Pirates’ cup challenge

North Ayrshire Wild host Paisley Pirates on Saturday aiming to book their place in the final of the inaugural Stuart Robertson Cup competition.

The two sides drew 4-4 at Braehead Arena last Sunday and a victory this weekend would guarantee them top spot in the western section.

Wild had won all four games in the group prior to last week’s draw and forward Marc Fowley says the team are eagerly anticipating the reverse fixture.

“There is a good rivalry between the two teams and close games like the first leg are the type of games you want to play in,” he said.

“Ultimately, we want to finish top of our group, but both teams will be hungry for the win this weekend and I expect a fast physical game on the smaller ice.

“It feels like there’s some unfinished business after last week’s draw and whoever wants it more will come out on top on Saturday.”

There is an all-Scottish clash in the NIHL North Cup on Sunday as Solway Sharks welcome Murrayfield Racers to Dumfries Ice Bowl.

The Moralee D1 side are currently fourth in the group with five points from five games, while Murrayfield are yet to win in the competition in three attempts.

Telford Tigers, Sheffield Steeldogs and Hull Pirates are expected to qualify for the semi-finals, with the other place likely to be fought out between Solway and Billingham Stars.

A victory this weekend would keep the Sharks firmly in the mix, but head coach Martin Grubb is taking nothing for granted.

“Sunday will be a tough game against the Racers,” he said. “I think Tony (Hand) and his staff have done a good job on and off the ice and looking at their results they have started well in the SNL.

“We look forward to welcoming them to Dumfries and will be looking for the cup points.”

WEEKEND FIXTURES

Saturday

North Ayrshire Wild v Paisley Pirates – SRC West
Dundee Tigers v Kirkcaldy Kestrels – SRC East

Sunday

Solway Sharks v Murrayfield Racers – NIHL Cup
Paisley Pirates v Kilmarnock Thunder – SRC West
Kirkcaldy Kestrels v Dundee Comets – SRC East

(Image permission: Stuart Gardiner)